Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

Jon Elliott

Recent Posts

EPA announces final phase-outs of commerce in remaining asbestos-containing products

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, May 20, 2024

On March 28, 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published phase-out schedules leading to a ban on the remaining permissible uses of chrysotile no later than December 31, 2037. EPA applies expanded authority provided as part of amendments adopted to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 2016; EPA first attempted to ban asbestos products in 1989 but was partially blocked by litigation. These rules finalize a proposal from April 2022 (which I wrote about HERE). The remainder of this note discusses the rule, and the history of this round of rulemakings since 2016.

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Tags: Environmental, EPA, tsca, Toxic, Toxics Release, asbestos

EPA issues Strategic Civil-Criminal Enforcement Policy

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, May 14, 2024

On April 17, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a memorandum announcing its Strategic Civil-Criminal Enforcement Policy (“the Policy”). The Policy provides direction to EPA’s civil and criminal enforcement staffs, seeking to ensure that the two sometimes-disjoint groups coordinate training, procedures, and enforcement choices. The remainder of this note summarizes this new Policy.

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Tags: EPA, Environmental Policy, environmental law, Civil-Criminal Enforcement Policy

EPA updates and expands mandatory greenhouse gas emission reporting requirements

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, May 06, 2024

On April 25, 2024, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published very extensive technical revisions to its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP), which requires thousands of facilities and organizations to report annual emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) (40 CFR part 98). These revisions finalize proposals published in June 2022 and May 2023. (I wrote about the second set HERE). The remainder of this note summarizes these changes. (I’ve written about EPA’s mandatory GHG reporting program several times, including HERE).

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Tags: Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA, Greenhouse Gas, ghg, greenhouse, Environment, GHGRP

EPA requires worst case release planning by onshore facilities

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Apr 23, 2024

On March 28, 2024, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted requirements that qualifying onshore non-transportation-related facilities prepare Facility Response Plans (FRPs) to address possible “worst case” discharges of hazardous substances into navigable waters or related areas. These new requirements fulfill a mandate imposed in 2020 after environmental groups successfully sued EPA for failing to issue such rules in the 30 years following 1990 amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA) directed EPA to do so (Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, et al. v. EPA). The rest of this note discusses these new requirements, in the context of CWA facility preparation requirements.

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Tags: Environmental risks, Environmental, EPA, CWA, Clear water, Hazardous Waste, Environment, Environmental Policy

OSHA revises inspection walk-around provisions

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Apr 15, 2024

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is authorized to inspect regulated workplaces, although it generally inspects only workplaces deemed highly hazardous (which typically are targeted sector-wide by OSHA National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) or their regional or state equivalents), or those subject response to complaints or reported incidents of injury or illness (I&I). On April 1, OSHA revised provisions in its inspection standard (29 CFR 1903) clarifying which “employee representatives” can accompany an inspector during a walk-around; the revisions are to become effective on May 31. This revision reflects part of broader inspection revisions proposed on August 30, 2023 (which I wrote about HERE). The rest of this note discusses the change to walk-around provisions.

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Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, Safety and Health at Work, workplace safety

Biden Administration proposes limited increases in OSHA budget

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Apr 08, 2024

On March 11, the Biden Administration issued its budget proposal for federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 (October 1, 2024 through September 30, 2025). The administration proposes a $655.5 million budget for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a 3.7% ($32.1 million) increase above OSHA’s adopted 2023 budget of $632.4 million (the Administration had proposed $701 million). OSHA is presently operating under the latest FY 2024 Continuing Budget Resolution (since no budget has been adopted for FY 2024 (I wrote about the Administration’s FY 2024 proposal HERE). Even if an FY 2025 budget is enacted, political differences make significant reductions from this proposal likely, but it’s worth reviewing the proposal as a reflection of the Administration’s ongoing environmental priorities. The remainder of this note summarizes the Biden Administration proposal.

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Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, Safety and Health at Work, Cal/OSHA, FTE, Joe Biden, USA

Biden Administration again requests significant EPA budget increases

Posted by Jon Elliott on Wed, Apr 03, 2024

On March 11, the Biden Administration issued its budget proposal for federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 (October 1, 2024 through September 30, 2025). The administration proposes a $10.994 billion budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an 8.5% ($0.858 billion) increase above money allocated to EPA under the latest FY 2024 Continuing Budget Resolution (since no budget has been adopted for FY budget under continuing resolutions during FY 2024 (I wrote about the Administration’s FY 2024 proposal HERE). ctionsEven if an FY 2025 budget is enacted, political differences make significant reductions likely, but, it’s worth reviewing the proposal as a reflection of the Administration’s ongoing environmental priorities. The remainder of this note summarizes the latest proposal.

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Tags: Environmental, EPA, Environment, Environmental Policy, FTE, Joe Biden, USA

SEC adopts climate-related disclosure requirements for public companies

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Mar 26, 2024

On March 6, 2024 the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced new requirements that selected “public companies” (i.e, listed on national securities exchanges) provide “climate-related disclosures for investors” in their registration statements and annual reports. SEC is incorporating them into existing requirements to disclose “material information,” under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These new requirements are more limited than those proposed by SEC in March 2022 (which I wrote about HERE). The remainder of this note summarizes SEC’s new requirements.

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Tags: SEC, Environmental risks, Environmental, climate change, Environment, Climate

New Jersey will require electric vehicle battery recycling

Posted by Jon Elliott on Thu, Mar 21, 2024

On January 8, 2024, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Battery Management Act (Senate Bill (SB) 3723, Smith et al.; referred to as “the Act” below)), to create a statewide system to ensure recycling of “propulsion batteries” used for electric vehicles (EVs). This is the first such program in the United States (the European Union includes EV batteries within broader battery management and recycling regulations adopted in June 2023). The Act applies the “producer responsibility” model increasingly used in state laws to require recycling of commercial products and materials (I’ve written about such programs several times, including a general discussion HERE, and discussion of Maine’s program for packaging HERE).

The Act takes effect on January 8, 2025, after which a series of planning, implementation, and compliance deadlines will apply. The remainder of this note discusses this new legislation, which is to be administered by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

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Tags: Environmental, Environment, Electric Vehicles, EV, DEP

EPA revises Accidental Release Prevention Rules

Posted by Jon Elliott on Thu, Mar 14, 2024

On March 1, 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised Accidental Release Prevention (ARP) program rules under the Clean Air Act (CAA). ARP was authorized by the 1990 Clean Air Act (CAA) Amendments, and is often known by its core requirement that targeted facilities prepare Risk Management Programs (RMPs) to prevent and respond to potential catastrophic releases of chemicals. The adoption finalizes an agency proposal from 2022 (it also recounts a long series of proposal dating back to 2014; I wrote about it HERE), in which the Biden-era EPA proposed to many of the narrowing amendments to RMP/ARP enacted in 2019 during the Trump Administration (I wrote about the 2019 changes HERE).

The rest of this note summarizes the new revisions, noting their differences from current rules.

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Tags: Health & Safety, EPA, CAA, chemical safety, Air Toxics, Clean Air Act, Toxics Release